I’ve been looking at the new title of my blog that refers to me as “A Christian Bipolar,” and I’m just not crazy about it. It fits, but I don’t like it. It sounds awkward, stilted. It fits .. but I don’t like it.
Well, let’s address the Christian part. I grew up Catholic, but when I was 13 and my parents divorced, we quit the church. I still tried a few times as an adult to go back, but it never really fit. (There’s that word again. Now I’m going to start talking about clothes, haha… but that’s a whole nother story).
Then in 2000 I met a lady who was a fellow employee at a nursing home. Pat was a CMT (Certified Med Tech) and I never understood how she could get all those meds into all those people and still be happy. But she was. One day, I asked her why, and she told me about the Lord Jesus Christ, and about this church where she went.
I didn’t go right away. But one day I was working at another facility (I was an agency nurse), and a lady and her 8 year old son came in to play music and sing to the patients. As I passed medications, they went room to room singing hymns. I kept trying to catch up with them; I really hungered to hear what they were singing. And by the time my shift was ended, I really really needed what they had, what Pat had, and what I didn’t. Now I don’t understand why I had this need. It had been building for a while, I guess, but this particular morning it felt really urgent.
The day that this mother and son came to the nursing home, it just happened to be a Sunday, and I just happened to have to drive by the church Pat had told me about. I’ve heard that referred to as a “God-Incidence” (as opposed to “coincidence”). Anyway, I got to the church between their early and late morning services.
It was like a party! There was rock-ish Christian music playing, and people were milling about drinking coffee and eating pastries. I felt at home right away, and began to go from person to person, asking after Pat. “Do you know Pat ___?” “Have you seen Pat ___?”
No one seemed to know her, but I knew in my heart that God had brought me to this place – literally, to this church, as well as spiritually. It was the perfect time.
The late morning service started, and people tucked their cups of coffee under their chairs and stood, facing the front. The music changed to a slower tempo. Some closed their eyes, and their bodies began to sway. I thought, hmm, this is different. The words to the song appeared on a screen in front, and people started singing. The words reached into my heart and ministered to my soul. It is hard to explain, but again, it was just what I needed, at the time that I needed it.
After a couple of songs, the pastor went up onto the stage and began to preach a message. An outline to the sermon appeared on the screen, along with different verses from the Bible.
I can’t say I remember what the sermon was that day, but I did start going to the church on a regular basis. I began to hear things like “Born Again,” and “Being Saved,” things about Jesus, and why He came, but I didn’t begin to understand until around Easter, when the pastor really addressed it. The scriptures spoke to my heart and convinced me that I was a sinner in need of a Savior. There is more here about that and it would be worth your while to read it. This was really the beginning of my Christian walk, and quite different from my Catholic background in a lot of ways. I’m not saying that if you’re Catholic you are on the wrong path, but I will say there are things I learned growing up that are not in the Bible. Say no more, say no more.
Since then, my chief aim in life has been to walk closer with the Lord and to be more like Him every day. I just have this extra “spice” of being bipolar that makes that really difficult sometimes.
Sounds like a very ordinary story, and really it is. I do know God brought me to that place and has accompanied me ever since – though there are places I truly wish He’d walked me around, instead of through. It’s worth it, though. I know where I am going when I die. The Bible says that “… the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.” (1 Samuel 12:22). Elsewhere, the Bible says, “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (Jeremiah 32:38) That gives me so much peace! To know I am His; to know He is mine.
Do read the page I referenced above, about salvation. You may not be ready now, but there may come a day when something happens that reminds you of “that place,” and you too need to go there, with some urgency in your heart. It is nice to know where to go, when you need to go Home, and never be alone again.
Like I said, it was not to my parents’ God I fled. It was to my own. I’ve never regretted it.